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Complaint & tattoos

PALS have said that they can’t see a referral to a neurologist on my file…which is very odd πŸ˜‘

The GP sent off the referral 2-3 months ago, so…?

 My partner phoned our GP surgery this morning to ask if there was a referral on the system, but they wouldn’t talk to him…which is just UGH, because when I filled in the registration forms at the surgery, I wrote at every suitable bit that he should be added on the system, I gave consent for him to talk on my behalf, AND I checked with the GP too!!

So now we have to go into the surgery today to ask about the referral, and I’ve written a note that says ” I [name] once again give consent for my partner and carer [name] to talk both on the phone, and to Doctors, on my behalf”. I even included my old and current name and signature, because I’m changing my name on the system today too. 

It’s my birthday in a week and I’m getting two tattoos for it woop woop!

I’m so insanely excited, I haven’t been able to get any new ink in years, because of seizures and what not. I’ve planned these two tiny tattoos so well too haha πŸ™‚

My appt is on Friday, the guy doing them is lovely and I had two of my others done with him. He doesn’t take bookings over the phone anymore as he takes a deposit due to idiots not turning up, so at first we thought we were gonna have to go elsewhere (bit too much to have to travel in to book them, then again for the tattoos). But my partner called him back to ask how long his waiting list was, and when he found out I was disabled he was so lovely and booked us in there and then, no deposit πŸ˜ƒ

I also got some new CBD oil to try, and it arrived today. I’m so desperate for relief atm, and the NHS isn’t taking me seriously, so I’m trying a different CBD company in case it helps more. CBD Brothers is supposed to be one of the best in the UK, so fingers crossed!

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Smashing stigma: shitty GP!

Oh we had a funny appt today πŸ˜€

I had blood tests done about a week ago, so I can finally be put on the waiting list to see a neurologist in regards to my seizures. If they are epileptic seizures I can then be put on medication to try stop them; if they’re non-epileptic seizures at least I know they’re not fucking with my brain, and we can try find ways to manage them.

The GP today was a HUGE bitch. So much so it was funny!

The appt started with her asking if I could take my goggles off, to which I replied I could, but the polarized lenses help prevent seizures. Strike one against me, she didn’t know what polarized lenses were and obviously hated feeling less superior.

I began telling her about the seizures (telling her about my auras, symptoms during and after). Β I told her about CBD oil, and that we’ve identified several seizure triggers (she didn’t ask what they were or give me time to tell her them).

I showed her a recording of a seizure, and she responded with “Well what’s supposed to be going on here, because it looks like you’re just watching telly”.

OMG hahaha, what an idiot!! When I’ve just told you all the symptoms, and wow well done for showing you have no knowledge of seizures as anything other than tonic clonics / grand mals!!

This was the video btw

She spent ten minutes (meaning the appt ran over) talking about my MH. She kept trying to belittle or insult me, using my MH as a weapon, and got increasingly angry when I refused to be belittled or ashamed.

Some of the questions include

  • When was I last on medication
  • When was I last seen for my mental health
  • Why aren’t I receiving help now
  • What is my mental health like now
  • Why do I think my MH is better now
  • (weirdly) Did I go to a public school
  • (after staring VERY pointedly at the scars on my arm) Do I have a history of self-harming? Why? For how long?

I was able to answer these questions extremely confidently, and this also annoyed her. Me and my partner joined as a team to explain the stress of appointments were extremely detrimental to my MH, and the fact they never helped anyway meant all they did was make me worse. I am doing better now, mentally, than I have in almost a decade.

She then asked me if I worked and when I last worked, and did not approve of the fact I hadn’t been able to work due to disability for so long.

After this she began talking about my seizures, but obviously referring to them as “episodes”. She began telling me that they may not be “true seizures”, and I interrupted to say we were very well aware about non-epileptic seizures, but obviously it’s worth seeing a neurologist because if I do have epilepsy, I can get treatment.

Everytime she spoke about epileptic and non-epileptic seizures, she referred to them as ‘true’ and ‘not true’ seizures. Well done for perpetuating the stigma against PNES!!

She said we might want to collect more video footage before the neurologist, and we said we had about a dozen videos spanning a year. She began to say we might want to record how many seizures I have a day, and we interrupted her to say we use a seizure tracking app to record how many I have, triggers, auras etc.

By the end of the appt she hated us, because I wouldn’t be embarrassed about my history of MH, and we were so knowledgeable about all my conditions. We (my partner and I) came out laughing, and feeling like a really solid team πŸ™‚

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I am back in the world

After being a recluse for 18+ months due to seizures, being physically and mentally able to go places again feels absolutely phenomenal.

For over 18 months I only left the house for dog walks. I didn’t leave my village, I didn’t travel on public transport, go in supermarkets, or stay outside for long periods of time. I basically didn’t have a life.

Most of this period we were totally unaware I was having seizures, and were desperately trying to work out what was causing my odd behaviour, panic, zoning out etc. We were trying to manage it, live with it and understand it – my ex-social worker blamed my seizures on bipolar moods / psychosis, as dissociation, but otherwise left us alone to handle it ourselves. Shortly after we stopped going to appts, because we couldn’t manage and as ever they weren’t helping!!

Now that we’ve found ways to manage everything a bit better, and especially with the polarized goggles, I am actually able to get out and about in the world πŸ˜€

I’ve been able to go in shops!!! Actual well lit, big, supermarket shops! I can go on public transport. I can have longer periods of time out and enjoy things and just *be* a person with a life!!

One of the things I am now able to do is go and manage GP appts. We recently switched to a new GP surgery, as our previous surgery behaved disgustingly yet again…and the new surgery seems INCREDIBLE!

The Dr at the meet and greet was lovely; very friendly, polite, and the ‘negatives’ he listed about the surgery (thatΒ sometimes you might have to wait two days for an appt, or if you wanted one at a specific surgery the longest you might have to wait is six days) made us laugh…at our previous surgery we had to waitΒ three weeks for an emergency appt!!!!

He asked if either of us were on any referrals, and I mentioned that I was waiting to be referred to a neurologist to investigate seizures, but needed a blood test first. He said as soon as my info had been swapped across we could get that done, and if the previous surgery dicked about and didn’t send it soon enough, we could phone them, ask what specific blood test it is, and get it done sooner πŸ™‚

So I’m actually on the way to having my seizures looked at!

Overall a very positive post…and hopefully not because I’m manic hahaha!! No but really, having a life rocks. Of course days out the house still affect me more, with the result being exhaustion and increased seizures, but the fact I am able to do things just feels so incredibly wonderful πŸ™‚

 

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Why must I be out in the world?!

We signed up to the new GP surgery today, the other one in our town.

We get there, and the receptionist says that although we’ll be signed to this surgery, most appts will be at the other surgery, a 25 minute bus ride away…whyyyyy?!

Apparently you can see Dr’s at our surgery, it’s just a longer wait as there are fewer appt slots there. We said that was fine as the previous surgery left you waiting 3 weeks for an emergency appt XD

Even so, apparently we have to have a ‘meet and greet’ appt with the GP before we will be registered, and that has to be at the far away surgery…this sucks because I’m already going to freaking out (I haven’t had a physical appt at a surgery in a few years, and this will be a new surgery with a new Dr!) and the bus will make me very sensitive seizures too. Add some stress and I’ll be fucked >__<

The receptionist said the lighting was dim at that surgery too, when I asked, but my bf still wants to try and get the meet and greet at the nearby one. Idk.

Filling the questionnaire in was fun, considering all the information they demanded from you, and I had no idea what to put for epilepsy…I’m 98% certain I have epilepsy (as my seizures are light triggers, no t tonic clonic, and I have auras – all are incredibly rare with NES), but as I’m not diagnosed I couldn’t circle it.

In the end I circled everything, and put seizures under investigation, which is what a previous Dr wrote on my fit note.

Whilst we were out I also goggled up and got to go in the second hand bookstore, where I haven’t been able to go for years due to seizures and lighting. I love this place, and found a very old interesting dog breed book πŸ˜€

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Bad bits and good bits

Today got off to a shit start, with my GP surgery being major dicks yet again!

My bf phoned up to ask if the surgery could legally do a blood test if I was having a seizure. Β As far as we knew I was on the waiting list for a home test, but we’d been waiting for months and thought with my new polarized goggles I could get in and out fairly easily…we just wouldn’t want to get there, me to have a seizure, and them to say “we can’t legally do it now, come back another day!”…and it’d NEVER be done!!

The receptionist was actually disgusting. She treated my bf like shit. She told him he was wasting their time asking this question, that “there’d be Dr’s there” if I did have a seizure, and – the best bit! – snapped “You’re not having a home visit, if that’s what you’re after!”

Firstly, that IS NOT what we were after, secondlyΒ according to the previous receptionist we spoke to we were already on that list!!!

Thanks for letting us know we weren’t at all XD

After receiving no answer, we hung up. We then phoned Epilepsy Action’s advice line, who were almost as unhelpful and out of date in their information…according to them seizures cannot be triggered by fluorescent lighting?!?

Quick google search showed me many others were also triggered by fluorescent / LED lighting, and this post on an epilepsy forum hit home as I share a lot of these triggers!

Anyway.

The benefit of this was that we discovered a new GP surgery in our town. It’s in a small house, so has normal lighting, and means I don’t have to deal with the shitty staff anymore…yay!

Today I went out for 3 hours, which was really fun! It resulted in a high number of seizures (21 simple partial, and 3 complex partial), but without my polarized goggles it would have been much more, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere near as much πŸ™‚

Here’s me in a brightly lit shop!!

spoonie

And we even had a meal at a pub πŸ˜€

And an ice cream with a view for desert!!

Awesome day πŸ™‚

A few hours after we got back home, my brain crashed and I had to take a codeine for a migraine…but it was worth it!

0

What to call but ‘ugh’?

I’m at the bottom, I’ve sunk so deep I’m surrounded by despair.

Yesterday I had my first medical appt in a year and it was awful and just reminded me completely of why I stopped going. The Dr was rude, dismissive and had no appreciation for how scared I was, either about the appt or the fact I’ve started having seizures with no history of seizures. I broke down in the appt and cried uncontrollably.

Benefits have stopped two of them because they ‘thought’ we were receiving universal credit (we weren’t, we never have) and now are refusing to start. We are now receiving only 80% of our usual income.

My seizures are off the chart, I feel like shit all the time, I’m constantly close to tears.

I’m totally done with my partner and everything he does makes me angry. Twice he’s left some fucking quail eggs in an incubator in a stupid place and twice it’s been knocked off and smashed and I am just so done.

I’ve not been happy with our relationship in so long because he let some things get too far to be repairable, but we keep trying and trying and I don’t want to anymore.

The ‘kill yourself’ voice is whispering away and I’m just sat here with no energy for anything.

Funnily enough before yesterday we’d been doing pretty good. Things change easily, all it takes is one bad thing to happen and if I don’t have the stamina to resist those suicidal whispers it can happen. And that’s what nobody understands. Maybe it’s because I’ve felt like this so many times before, so now when I feel like I’m drowning I have less fight, less energy to kick up to the surface.

It’s like when people say “it’ll get better, look for the nice weather after the storm” – and I’m there thinking ‘sure, but then another even worse storm follows that…’

Bipolar is an illness that takes you round in circles, with no end in sight. Telling me “it’ll get better” doesn’t help, because there’s always another storm coming…

I am not in any danger at all. I have no strong urges or plans, they’re just whispers. These are just feelings.

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Sleep

I’m not sure I’ve ever slept so much in my life, even the times I’ve slept a stupid amount due to depression.

This time the sleep is caused by seizures – not only have we figured that lack of sleep is a surefire way to guarantee a day filled with seizures, but we’ve also discovered that napping when I feel even slightly tired is great for resetting my brain.

Yesterday I had a lot of seizures and ended up sleeping 4pm-6am, today I had a few absence seizures but otherwise was good, but still needed a 2hr nap around 3pm. No seizures since and my head isn’t even that spacey πŸ™‚

It’s so easy for mental health professionals, or family and friends, to say that the most important thing we can do is stick to a schedule – especially a sleep schedule!

But there are a lot of illnesses where, if we listen to our body, sleep can be extremely beneficial and we should sleep whenever we need to. Sleep’s wonderful for healing, it can help boost your mood, reset your brain, and often you feel more energised.

For five years I had every single professional tell me how important it was to stick to a sleep schedule, that I MUST NOT sleep more than 8 hours a night and I must NEVER EVER EVER nap in the day.

And I tried to live that way for years, and it was hell!

Now I listen to my body. I nap when it says I need to, if I wake from a nap and I’m still tired I’ll return to bed and sleep until my body is ready to wake…it’s been amazingly helpful. Nine times out of ten when I wake my head is clear, my mood is brighter, and I have absolutely no inklings of a seizure.

The way me and my partner summed it up today is: we’d rather I lost a few hours to a nap and woke feeling better, than fought through tiredness and had multiple seizures, losing a whole day and risking injury. It’s not rocket science.

Medical professionals have their place and sure, they can have useful advice to offer…but at the end of the day you know your body best, and if you’ve been struggling with an illness for years you’ll most likely know what works for you best. Back to those blanket statements again, huh?! πŸ˜€